Wednesday, March 4

plastic sea

For some time I had wanted to post about our plastic seas. I know most of you know all about it, but I've come to realise that even more others don't know a thing about it. However, I'm not knowledgeable enough to go into details, I just know enough to understand there is a big problem. And to once again, be thoroughly disgusted with human beings. Good thing, as this means I won't blind you with information, just the very basics.

Anyway, the gist of it is this.

  • Plastic doesn't biodegrade.

  • Much of our plastic waste ends up in the oceans.

  • It's out there floating around and breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces.

  • Animals are dying because they ingest pieces or become stuck in items.

  • In some places, plastic outnumbers plankton. Plankton people!

  • Fish ingest plastic.

  • We eat fish.

  • We eat plastic.

  • We eat plastic. (it's so astounding it's worth repeating)
I finally came across a TED stint that is a very good summary. Please watch it, it's only 7 minutes.

link if you can't see video:

What to do?

Easy. Stop buying plastic.

The plastic problem goes much, much further than the sea debris, its production is an enormous issue, but I wanted to point out the ocean waste here.

As a parent, plastic toys have been the bain of my life. It's not easy, but it's doable, to have other parents understand that you don't want plastic for your child.

If you can't stop buying it completely, minimise it. Become conscious of every piece you purchase.
In fact, it's probably impossible to not buy any. It's in everything! Especially packaging. How many of those tiny plastic tags have you removed from new clothes?.....

But many items are under our total choice - toys, drink bottles and shopping bags to name just a few. If you are given the right and freedom of choice, use it.


  1. Yes, it's so difficult trying to eliminate plastic, especially children's toys. I've tried to tell others that we're trying to avoid this, and on the whole they're pretty good about giving my girl non-plastic gifts, but it's such a ubiquitous substance, it's EVERYWHERE, (yes - I feel caps are justified...ahem).

    It's frightening the way the stuff releases all those horrible endocrine disrupting chemicals - particularly as it ages (but no, it doesn't break down as you say).

  2. Oh, this is a bug bear of mine actually. I took the little man down to the beach and while the water and beach looked relatively clean there were crisp packets blowing around etc. I did try to catch a few to put in the bins.

    It really annoys me when some parents don't make their kids pick up their dropped rubbish and pop it in the bin! GRRRRR.

    I try to avoid as much plastic as possible and the only plastic toys I have are mega blocks the rest I've hand made or are wooden..a nd the mega blocks I bought second hand.


  3. nice post, thank you.

    this has been an issue for us as well. i dislike plastic toys as well, but i also want to encourage my kids to make their won decisions including the toys the play with so when they chose plastic trains etc as birthday presents i do not say no. i dislike saying no in those situations more than i dislike buying plastic.

    to remedy the problem i recently bought a great children's book that explains all about the environmental problems including the plastics one. now that my kids no how they are made and what they are made of and how harmful they are to us, the environment, our animal friends...they take it all into consideration when thinking about toys as gifts. my oldest especially. so that's how we avoid plastics. we got the kiddos involved.

  4. Thanks Mon, this may help me talk to my boy about plastic toys. Yet another reason not to eat animals!

  5. We have been working for awhile to limit plastic in our lives -- it is hard and can be overwhelming but with baby steps it gets easier! But I think you are right there are lots of people who just do not understand and think that they can not make a difference.

  6. Evil plastics! We as a family have been more aware of the plastics around us for about the past three years. A little over a year ago I went on a purge of the kitchen and got rid of a tonne of plastic containers, and I do not buy any kind of plastic storage containers now. I feel bad for even passing my old plastic on (we donated it all), but it wouldn't be any better to just throw it out. Rock and hard place.

    Toys... that is a hard one. I can look in J's room and see quite a lot of plastic in there.

    As for the plastic garbage left around... grrr. It really gets to me when I see people leaving any garbage laying around. Clean up after yourself people!

    I agree with others that say baby steps. That is what we are doing... taking little steps to rid our lives of plastics. Stay knowledgeable and take steps towards a better life. Goes for everything I think. :)

  7. Great post as always! Plastics drive me crazy. I do have them in my house, lots of them even, and it has increased hundredfold since having kids, but I am slowly trying to reduce them to a more "acceptable" level. I see another conscious challenge coming up...

  8. I couldn't finish the video as my battery is going dead, but oh yes, Ballona Creek in L.A. has always been icky. (It's a "creek" in it's historical name only -- it's primarily concrete.)

    I remember the then new awareness back in the 80s of those plastic loops that hold together six-packs of soda and beer going into the ocean and strangling seals and such.

    I'm not going to say all plastic is bad. I'm certainly grateful for the plastic lenses in my glasses, and the plastic housing, tubing, and mask in the nebulizer that helps my son breathe during an asthma attack. But nonessential plastic is really what we're talking about, and it is truly nonessential. One of these days they'll totally outlaw (or tax at least) plastic grocery bags, and that will make a huge difference too.

  9. A friend of mine blogged about this awhile back. Something about a mass of plastic as big as...Texas? It's pretty crazy that dumping in the ocean actually happens.

    I'd love to be plastic free. I was without tupperware for ages. But my MIL decided I needed some. Dangit. Couldn't have bought me some Pyrex eh? ;)

    Kids stuff is so much harder. Packaging is ridiculous. Ugh


  10. Great point Anthromama. I wonder though if the Big Guns were pushed, if they would come up with altenatives for everything?

    Tara - yes, that's what they say, Texas!

  11. I have always thought it was appalling that garbage was thrown into the ocean...I never knew how bad it was. Gross! Makes me afraid to eat wild fish!

    Plastic is everywhere. I can see for some things it would be hard to medical supplies and electronics. For years I have been making little steps toward less waste. I am going to try harder now. One time I was reading this book about a pioneer woman that lived on a homestead, and I realized that they must not have any garbage! Food waste would be composted, and everything else was reusable! They had so few belongings that they would never toss something in order to replace it with a newer model. I wish we were more like that.


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